Sella set to stand down

Rugby Union
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The Independent Online
Rugby Union

Philippe Sella, the veteran French centre who holds a world record 111 caps, is to retire from international rugby.

Sella, 33, whose international career spans more than 15 years, is one of the greatest centres in the history of the game. He earned his last cap on 22 June in Pretoria where France beat England 19-9 in the World Cup third-place play-off.

"It's time for me to concentrate on life outside rugby," said Sella, who runs a clothing business and created a company named Sella Communication which promotes sports events.

Sella, a player who combines great skill and power, scored 36 tries for France and was also one of the toughest defenders in the team. Despite offers from several leading clubs, he has always remained faithful to Agen in the south-western heartland of French rugby union. He will continue to play for Agen until the end of the season.

He said recently he intended to develop his company in England and might join an English club next season. "I haven't received proposals but I'm ready to study any offer," he said.

Saracens are believed to be competing for the services of Sella with Leicester. A Saracens official said: "Sella has already mentioned our name in the French press and we have had discussions with him. If you want to improve your back division, then who better than one of the game's all-time greats?"

Sella enjoyed the best moments in his career in the 1987 World Cup in which France lost to New Zealand in the final after an epic win over Australia in the semi-finals. He often said his worst memory was a shock defeat by England in the quarter-finals of the 1991 World Cup.

n Edinburgh Academicals will not appeal against the suspension of their coach, David Sole, until the end of the season. The former Scotland captain was banned by the Scottish for bringing the game into disrepute after criticising the referee, Colin Henderson.

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